Most of us recognize Danny Trejo’s face from countless appearances in television series and films, but one family will remember him as their hero. This week, Danny Trejo rescued a special-needs child after a horrific car crash in Los Angeles. The 75-year-old actor, perhaps best known for playing villains, performed a genuine act of heroism, unconcerned for his own safety. While people were taken to the hospital after the accident, everyone involved is fine. And though Danny Trejo rescued the child, he’s giving the real credit to a car seat. In multiple interviews after the incident, the actor said that were it not for that car seat, he doesn’t think the child would have survived.
How Danny Trejo Rescued a Child After a Crash
Surveillance cameras captured the incident, showing Trejo running to the rescue mere seconds after the crash. A car ran a red light, smashing into an SUV that flipped onto its roof. Inside the car, a grandmother and her special-needs grandson found themselves upside down in an instant. Trejo ran across the street, peering into the upturned vehicle’s windows. The driver shouted for him to rescue her grandbaby. He spotted the child, and because his daughter’s mother works with special needs children, knew how to connect with this frightened child. He tried to calm the boy down, while reaching to free him. Yet, he couldn’t get his finger on the button to release the car seat’s straps. By this point, a crowd of other concerned people gathered. One woman, whom Danny Trejo identified as Monica Jackson, crawled into the vehicle.
With her slender hands and fingers, Jackson reached the button Trejo couldn’t. With the straps released, Trejo reached for the child, and he pulled him from the car. Outside, the boy was not out of danger. The child stiffened, not responding to Trejo, starting to panic or go into shock. Drawing on his experience with special needs children, he encouraged the boy with a “distraction” from the real-world terror happening around him. Trejo told the boy they needed to use their superpowers. The boy screamed “superpowers,” and Trejo told him to flex his muscles. “I guess we got, kind of, a bond,” he told reporters. As first responders lifted the car to rescue the grandmother, Trejo gave her his shirt to staunch her bleeding. Eventually, the boy’s frantic mother arrived on the scene, finding her son shaken up but not the worse for wear thanks to his new super-powered friend.
Look For the Helpers
Children’s television legend Mister Rogers probably would not like Danny Trejo’s movies. He abhorred violence, especially on television. Yet, he’d recognize that the real-life man is the kind of person his mother used to tell him about. Mister Rogers often told the story that whenever he’d see scary things happen in the news, his mother told him to not focus on the disaster, but to “look for the helpers.” It’s a lesson to remind children that no matter what happens, there are always people who run towards the danger to help out their neighbors. Trejo may have missed watching Mister Rogers as a child, but he knew one of his greatest lessons. “Everything good that has happened to me,” he told a reporter, “happened as a direct result of helping someone else.”
He was right behind a crash in Sylmar and pulled a special needs baby out of an overturned car. He distracted the boy until grandma was OK. ♥️ —> https://t.co/tS2Za4bZVZ@ABC7 pic.twitter.com/U9iLzAkHkA
— Veronica Miracle (@ABC7Veronica) August 8, 2019
Outside the world of whimsy, wonder, and nonsense we cover here, troubling things happen every day. When something tragic or awful happens, people play cynical political games by trying to shift the conversation to something nonsensical. When this happens, it can be easy to think that people are mostly awful. And maybe in that arena they are. Yet, the story about how Danny Trejo rescued a child is what can remind us that when people really need help, anyone can show up. Even an action movie star.
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.